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Dr. Bo's Criteria for Logical Fallacies:

  1. It must be an error in reasoning not a factual error.
  2. It must be commonly applied to an argument either in the form of the argument or in the interpretation of the argument.
  3. It must be deceptive in that it often fools the average adult.

Therefore, we will define a logical fallacy as a concept within argumentation that commonly leads to an error in reasoning due to the deceptive nature of its presentation. Logical fallacies can comprise fallacious arguments that contain one or more non-factual errors in their form or deceptive arguments that often lead to fallacious reasoning in their evaluation.

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Eager Newbie

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Eager Newbie

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Fri, Feb 08, 2019 - 06:31 PM

Any fallacies committed here?

Recently, regarding a Brexit topic happening in the UK right now I wrote a statement about Carl Sagan where he said that “In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.” ― Carl Sagan

They then said that's because of the basis of religion and politics is ideology and belief and therefore any supporting evidence or lack of it is irrelevant.

Did any of us make any fallacies here or were there none at all?


2 Answers



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Bo Bennett, PhD
Author of Logically Fallacious


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Bo Bennett, PhD

Author of Logically Fallacious


About Bo Bennett, PhD

Bo's personal motto is "Expose an irrational belief, keep a person rational for a day. Expose irrational thinking, keep a person rational for a lifetime."  Much of his charitable work is in the area of education—not teaching people what to think, but how to think.  His projects include his book, The Concept: A Critical and Honest Look at God and Religion, and Logically Fallacious, the most comprehensive collection of logical fallacies.  Bo's personal blog is called Relationship With Reason, where he writes about several topics related to critical thinking.  His secular (humanistic) philosophy is detailed at
Bo is currently the producer and host of The Humanist Hour, the official broadcast of the American Humanist Association, where he can be heard weekly discussing a variety of humanistic issued, mostly related to science, psychology, philosophy, and critical thinking.

Full bio can be found at
Print Sat, Feb 09, 2019 - 06:34 AM
The only problem I have with the above is evidence or lack thereof does influence belief as well as ideology. Not as much as we like, but it certainly is not "irrelevant." No fallacies that I can see, just perhaps a misunderstanding of psychology.
Bo Bennett, PhD
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Michael Chase Walker
Screenwriter, producer, mythoclast

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Michael Chase Walker

Screenwriter, producer, mythoclast

Master Contributor

About Michael Chase Walker

Michael Chase Walker is an actor, author, screenwriter, producer, and a former adjunct lecturer for the College of Santa Fe Moving Images Department, and Dreamworks Animation. His first motion picture was the animated classic, The Last Unicorn.
Michael was an in-house television writer for the hit television series: He-Man, She-Ra, Voltron, and V, the Series. In 1985, he was appointed Director of Children's programs for CBS Entertainment where he conceived, shaped and supervised the entire 1985 Saturday Morning line-up: Wildfire, Pee Wee's Playhouse, Galaxy High School, Teen Wolf, and over 10
Print Mon, Feb 11, 2019 - 12:22 PM
Sagan is basically stating his own anecdotal experience of the distinctions between scientific methodology and the lack thereof in ideology, belief, politics and religion. Something we can all pretty much agree on.

"I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.” There's no overall error in reasoning because he is merely stating his own powers of recollection and experience. The qualifier is his own admission that he cannot recall it.

If he was making the overall claim that religious people and politicians never change their minds, we might have a hasty generalization. We also might readily introduce evidence and instances where both politicians and religionists change their minds. Admittedly, not with the frequency of scientists, but we do know that religionists become atheists, moderates become conservatives, and issue flip-flopping is a common occurrence among politicians. So as an overall claim it is fallacious. But that's not what Sagan is saying.

The responder is basically affirming that ideology, belief, politics and religion are not evidence-based, and therefore cannot be evaluated as equal methodologies in the scientific sense. In fact, he goes on to claim that evidence is irrelevant, and that's where the argument fails. We all know that evidence and facts are extremely relevant to some politicians and religionists even to the point of exaggeration, manufacturing erroneous claims, and a whole other array of special pleadings. But now we're get into the realm of various cognitive biases inherent in most ideological propositions.

Cogito ergo Non credo

Registered User Comments

Colin P
Friday, February 15, 2019 - 02:09:50 PM
I'm not sure about fallacies here, but there are certainly inaccuracies. These are plenty of examples of people changing their minds about religions, and there are all too many examples of scientists following unproven theories dogmatically and with hostility to other scientists who follow other unproven theories equally dogmatically - both without the evidence to prove they are correct but with religious-like fervour. That your other respondents should overlook such matters places a large question mark over the objectivity of their own positions in my opinion.

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